Some call them "travelers," others know them as "gypsies," but word is out that the itinerant, fly-by-night paving companies known for scamming unsuspecting customers are back in town.

Connie Quillen with the Better Business Bureau of the Southwest told The Taos News Friday (June 17) that her office usually gets calls around this time of year relating the same basic scam.

"What we hear from people is that (the companies) come to someone's house and say they have some material left over from a larger job," Quillen said. "Usually it's just an incredibly low price, but they say you have to buy it on the spot because they have to get rid of it."

"Unfortunately, what happens is there was no larger job. They've just filled up the truck and gone out working door to door," Quillen said.

In a few weeks, customers start complaining about the quality of the job, Quillen said. The surface has settled unevenly or weeds start growing through cracks in the asphalt. But by then it's too late.

The crew has already moved on, and the company won't return phone calls. Quillen recommends that businesses and residents be wary of people offering on-thespot paving, especially if they require immediate payment.

In the past year, Quillen said her office has only had one official complaint closed against a company that did not respond when contacted. That doesn't mean there haven't been more grievances, Quillen said.

It just means most people don't go through the complaint process. For those who may have been the victims of some type of scam, Quillen said there are several options.

One would be to contact the Better Business Bureau in Albuquerque at (505) 346- 0110. Another option would be to contact the New Mexico Construction Industries Division by calling (505) 476-4700 to find out if the company is licensed to work in the state.

Complaints can also be directed at the New Mexico Attorney General's Office by calling (800) 678-1508.

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